Origin Fitness Director, Paul Bodger, has recently returned from the IHRSA 2014 Annual Trade Show and Convention in San Diego and to provide us some insight into what the hot topics for the fitness industry in 2014/15 are likely to be, he has given us this quick run-down of his time at IHRSA 2014.
What were the talking points surrounding the convention and trade show? What were the technologies and trends that people seemed to be most excited about?
Technology was still one of the big areas of growth. Whether that is being driven by the manufacturers or by customer demand is the thing which is unclear. Wearable Technology is definitely becoming widely accepted by the public in general and MyZone is adding more and more services and updates so looks strong.
TVs and Content on fitness equipment is also getting pushed hard, but the thing that resonates better for me is when the technology works with the devices I already use – I don’t want to have to use another stand-alone system, what I want is for my SmartPhone to get recognised by the treadmill and all information to go through to my platform. Ecofit was a good example of that, and works on all fitness equipment makes.
“Functional Training” is still the buzz, which has now become predominantly “Functional Rigs” – but I’m not convinced some of the manufacturers actually fully understand how members want to use equipment.
What was the best session you attended and what useful knowledge have you taken away with you?
The early morning workout is a great concept. To be able to actually get on and try all of the equipment on show is a good chance to test it all out including some of the competitor brands. Star Trac and Cybex are important for us, but Life Fitness and ICG had some good innovations and additions to their range.
What was the most interesting product, stand or service you encountered?
Clearly the new Spinner NXT Black Belt and Schwinn Carbon Blue are big stories for us and already gaining interest fast. But across show, Total Gym had some awesome new products, as did many sport specific exhibitors. It’s generally in the smaller items that the most innovation is evident.
From what you saw, what do you think is going to take off over the next 12 months?
The biggest thing for me this year is actually just a recognition of what actually works for gaining results. We have already been seeing a massive return to “old school” training and Free Weights, Olympic Lifting, etc is for me the new growth space. Crossfit is driving that interest, as is combat sports.
Technology will be getting pushed, but with players like Apple, Samsung, Nike also in that space for consumers manufacturers are going to have to work hard on making their equipment “Open” as opposed to trying to create new “Closed Ecosystems”.
To summarise then, how was your time at IHRSA 2014?
Great trip as always, and good to see the industry as a whole with a bit more positivity and buzz about it. There was definitely a general feeling at the event that it was time to push onwards again.